July 15th, 2008
09:10 AM ET
10 years ago

New Yorker editor defends Obama cover


Watch New Yorker editor David Remnick defend the magazines controversial cover.

(CNN) - Amid widespread criticism over The New Yorker cover illustration that portrays Barack Obama in Muslim garb and wife Michelle Obama as a gun-toting militant, the publication's editor told CNN Monday he doesn't regret approving the use of the controversial image.

Watch: Remnick on The Situation Room

David Remnick, the longtime editor of the highly-regarded publication, said he believes the ironic intent of the illustration will be clear to most Americans.

"The idea is to attack lies and misconceptions and distortions about the Obamas, and their background and their politics. We've heard all of this nonsense about how they're supposedly insufficiently patriotic, or soft on terrorism," he said. "That somehow the fist bump is something that it's not. And we try to put all of these images in one cover, and to satirize and shine a really harsh light on something that could be incredibly damaging."

The cover - which shows the pair in the Oval Office, with an American flag burning and a picture of Osama bin Laden - has been widely criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. On Sunday evening Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton called it "tasteless and offensive." John McCain said Monday it is "totally inappropriate."

Bernard Parks, a California city council member and supporter of Barack Obama, told CNN he is calling for a boycott of the liberal-leaning magazine.

Full story

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (527 Responses)
  1. Gary

    This reminds me of the Mohamed cartoon controversy. Is he running for President or Prophet.

    July 14, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  2. Mike T.

    So what if Obama is a Muslim, I don't really care. As long as he taxes gas to the tune of $2 more a gallon, I'm voting for him.

    July 14, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. Kent D

    When you have to explain your joke, it isn't one.

    This is the most irresponible thing that I've ever seen from the New Yorker and thier publisher Conde Nast. I am urging all who are offended and regular readers of Conde Nast publications to call the corperate offices in New York and demand Remnick's resignation and boycott the publisher until that happens. I am asking the my subscriptions to the New Yorker and Vanity Fair be suspended pending cancellation.

    All freedoms and rights come with responsiblities. You can say what you want (we hope), but you also have to face the consequences of your actions.

    July 14, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. jeff

    I guess The New Yorker thinks it is The Colbert Report now?

    July 14, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  5. Barbara Campbell

    Oh, the satire is obvious. The intention is obvious. Yet, given some of the comments on this blog, a whole lot of folks don't get it. The dumbing down of America continues.

    July 14, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  6. obama=underhanded liar

    The cover is PERFECT. Whinnie boy just can't stand it. Looks just like him and his angry wife.

    July 14, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  7. Another Member of the "With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemies?" Club

    Satire? So not funny, guys, New Yorker appears to be gifted with a mean demeanor and adolescent judgment. Apparently, they missed the memo regarding the fact that satire is an obsolete convention in 21st century America, and about 95% of the rest of the free world.

    July 14, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. Mariann Pepitone

    Henche Mann: I agree with what you said. Good for the New Yorker. They are a smart magazine. Smarter than the majority of the public. Let's hope the voters for Obama wake up and smell the coffee and turn to McCain.

    July 14, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. David in Illinois

    Oh get a grip! None of these Obama supporters were any where near this sensitive when it came to tasteless insensitive and rude things being thrown at Hillary. Hillary nut crackers...flying witch and the list goes on and on. This just proves how seriously Obama takes himself and his Messiah complex to change the world. It also shows that he must not be able to read and grasp the really obvious fact that the cover was making a comment on the politics of feaar. when all is said and done we will find out that Obama's camp had a hand in getting the cover done in the first place....just to give him one more political prop.......The only cover I am interested in seeing he and his wife on is the one that screams.......Lost the election.

    July 14, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. Smart1

    The NewYorker is paying for this poor sense of journalism, their integrity has now come under question. They have lost their credibility and people are canceling their subscriptions.
    To: Jeff Long The copies are not sold out the New Yorker has begun to pull the magazine off of the shelves to save their a...

    No matter which candidate I support I will not support journalistic ignorance and neither should anyone else. This is not satire it is abuse of journalistic power. If Mc Cains was sitting in the oval office in a wheel chair with a bomb in his hand while his wife is popping pills and calling her drug dealers would that be funny? I think not

    July 14, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  11. Brian, OR

    Your point is well taken Mr. Remnick - Republicans spread rediculous lies.

    July 14, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  12. Publicus

    Unfortunately, the cover will seem to stand by itself for many people who see this cover, thus reinforcing widely believed false claims about Barack and Michelle Obama, regardless of the content of the article inside.

    James Carville, who is a far more sophisticated political participant and observer than the vast majority of the American public, may not think it it's a large deal; however, a considerable and badly misguided segment of the voting population will take it as literal truth, not as a satire of their beliefs.

    The Obama campaign is right to regard it as "tasteless" and inappropriate, although there is little choice other than to shrug it off and to stay on message.

    July 14, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  13. Perla

    I understand what the artist meant to do. But MANY Americans don't understand parody, and they will likely take the cover as confirmation that all these smears are true. What the Obama camp needs to do now is USE the illustration as an educational device.

    July 14, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  14. Honest Broker

    Such an easy solution to combat this type of rag, tasteless journalism.

    Cancel your subscription to the "New Yorker"

    Recommend that advertisers pull out of their contracts, or boycott the products.

    Freedom of speech begets freedom of choice.... and the "New Yorker" should reap what it sows. Cancel, cancel, cancel.

    July 14, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  15. Andre' of Maryland

    If this was really meant to poke fun at the false ideas going around they did a very poor job. If they could have at least put a comment on the cover such as "politics of fear". I would have felt their point would have been made. This cover only puts gasoline on the fire. To think that a group of people look at this cover as is and said.....o.k.

    July 14, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  16. BINGO


    July 14, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  17. LW

    The New Yorker use "POOR TASTE" for the cover of the magazine this month. I wonder will they put a nasty picture of Mccain and his wife on their cover next month. Magazine do anything to make a sell.

    July 14, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  18. Peachy Keen

    For those saying Obama should lighten up about this cover should realize he hasn't said a word about it. He is smarter than that. He also believes in the right to free speech.

    July 14, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  19. edex, FLORIDA VOTER


    July 14, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  20. Montana is Obama Country


    If you have to DEFEND IT... than you probably shouldn't have done it..

    (atleast that's what grandma said..)


    July 14, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  21. Elena in California

    I don't think there is anything this man can say to defend himself. He has contributed to the negative stereotype by continuing to publicize misinformation about good people. Senator Obama and his wife have done nothing to warrant such an ugly smear, and this editor is lower than scum as far as I am concerned.

    July 14, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  22. RJ, CA

    It's called free speech and free press, folks. (Is this really any different from Obama's twisting the presidential seal in his favor - which was, actually ILLEGAL?)

    I applaud The New Yorker for doing this, and I think I'll buy a subscription. And: The magazine isn't stupd. It decided to publish what they perceive the majority of their readers would want - and, clearly, they determined this would be acceptable to their readers - and good for them!

    By the same token, I recently cancelled my 5-year subscription to Time Magazine, a member of the CNN/Time Magazine group - two organizations that have been totally biased in favor of Obama and against Hillary Clinton - and I don't EVER watch CNN now.

    And that's also free speech and free press - and obviously CNN/Time readers and viewers want that kind of coverage, even though I don't. And CNN/Time Magazine have equal right to free speech and free press, even if I don't agree with them.

    Otherwise - are you REALLY ready for dictatorship in America?????

    July 14, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  23. Dave from Virginia

    Hey the truth hurts, about time someone in the media is not afraid to express their views, but wait it was something that offended Obama that must make him a racist and the publication racist....oh can't have that might hurt someone's feelings, can't do that....

    July 14, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |

    The Editor is offering an explanation that is simply more satire and sarcasm in the guise of an appologetic clarification.

    July 14, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  25. Michael G

    Wow. It is as though Obama will never be accepted by the public. I am an Iraq war vet, and I feel so disappointed, so often by the people in this country I went to war to defend. This picture was truly one of the meanest things I have ever seen published by anyone. America, it is okay to be sensitive. Let's lose this mean streak which is becoming so pervasive.

    July 14, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
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